As UCHRA continues efforts to sell the financially troubled Lakeside Resort, business there is picking up this summer.
"Business has been good. Sales are up 25% for the month of May which is encouraging. As of now we're already full (booked) for the fourth of July," said Bob Sotis, manager of Lakeside in an interview with WJLE Tuesday. "We're helping a little bit with the Smithville Jamboree this year. We're going to be one of the stage sponsors. We're housing six of the judges for the Jamboree. They are going to be staying with us versus coming back to Cookeville. In the past years, we've never really participated but this year we're trying to be part of the community and it's real positive. We're full this weekend. We're full the following weekend. We're full the fourth of July weekend so we're looking good. We need to get some longer dates (booked) like Sunday through Thursday dates booked," said Sotis.
In April, 2012 UCHRA settled on a deal to sell Lakeside Resort to the Brentwood Arts Society, an entity controlled by Jim Himelrick and Bob Pierce, real estate developers and former investors in Nashville Shores but the deal later fell through when the partners failed to come up with the earnest money of $50,000.
The sale price for Lakeside is for the amount that is still owed on it, which is approximately $1.5 million. Of course the property is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (federally owned property cannot be sold) but any sale of the resort would include the purchase of the equipment, furnishings, and the rights to be able to occupy and use the facility. The Corps and USDA Rural Development would have to give approval for any new owner to assume the land lease.
UCHRA's real estate committee recently sought bids for proposals to list Lakeside but received none."The committee meeting was designed to possibly hire a real estate company to orchestrate a sale of Lakeside but no real estate company has taken interest in that as of this point but we have been in negotiations with some other people so we have some development out there. There has been three or four different entities that have looked at it that would be real positive for DeKalb County. We've looked at possibly a children services (program) and different developments like that have looked at it that have shown some interest. That's real positive. It's a good deal for the $1.5 million to take it over but it's going to take someone with a good heart and good ideas to take it to the next level," said Sotis.
Last fall, UCHRA Officials said if the deal to sell Lakeside to the Brentwood Arts Society did not go through, they would look at the possibility of opening a residential center for youth there. As of now, Sotis said UCHRA has not yet given up on efforts to list the property. "I believe what is going to go on now is that James (Starnes) who is our (UCHRA) Deputy Director, he is going to make some direct phone calls to some real estate companies and see if they want the listing and try to sell the lease to it (Lakeside). But quite honestly, it needs to be in Nashville, Knoxville, or some bigger cities that have a little bit larger exposure versus a town like Cookeville or Smithville. We need to be with some corporate brokerage firms like Coldwell Banker. One of those big ones that will span it out to all the United States. Someone will take the listing, it's just a matter of finding that right person," said Sotis.